As a food-focused writer and former social media manager, I often come across Instagram posts that make me salivate and think, oh my God that looks SO good. However, it’s rare that I’m so inspired by something on my feed that I spring into action to recreate it in my own kitchen. But that’s exactly what happened last summer when I saw this bright and fresh caprese salad during my daily scroll.
The twist is simple — plate peaches and berries alongside basil and mozzarella, omitting tomato and freshly ground pepper — but it was an instant hit with my family. Now that the weather is starting to warm up and parties are becoming a thing again, this salad is sure to become a regular in my “bring something to the cookout” arsenal since it doesn’t require a ton of time or effort, but still looks really impressive. In the months since I first became a peach-caprese enthusiast, I’ve found a couple tips that have helped me serve a gorgeous platter.
Prep This Dish Last
The longer your summer caprese sits out, the more likely it is to become mushy and sad. I like to chill all my ingredients (except the basil) until just before I put the salad together. If you’re bringing this to a party, it’s worth it to just bring all your ingredients and assemble at your destination.
Use Your Balsamic Wisely
When I make this salad at home, I simply drizzle a little balsamic vinegar straight from the bottle (I like Brightland’s Rapture vinegar, which complements the sweetness of the dish nicely). However, if my goal is to wow people with my presentation and avoid the mozzarella absorbing the liquid too fast, I’ll reduce the balsamic to create a more picturesque glaze. You basically want to reduce it down so it coats the back of a spoon, and then you can drizzle ribbons over your plate (or keep it in a jar until ready to serve).
Keep It Seasonal
This is one of those “recipes” that can be endlessly tinkered with. You can use whatever stone fruit or berries look best at your local store or farmer’s market, or choose based on personal preference — I grabbed some Blackberries since they went really well with Brightland’s fruit-forward balsamic vinegar. And while I prefer this version of a caprese for most of the summer season, I’m still going to make a more traditional one during the height of tomato season.
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A Bright, Fruity Balsamic Vinegar
Brightland describes their vinegars as “fruit-forward,” and their Rapture balsamic vinegar definitely falls into that camp. It lends the perfect amount of acidity and sweetness to dressings and sauces, and can be reduced for maximum potency and drizzle ability.
This Set That Makes a Great Gift
If you also want to try Brightland’s cult-favorite olive oil, this set comes with their best-selling Awake olive oil, the Rapture vinegar, and the Digestif candle made with Brightland’s own olive oil.
An Easy-to-Pour Spout
Brightland’s opaque bottles help reduce light exposure to keep the oil fresh, but can be a little messy to pour from. This gold spout is made to fit and blend seamlessly with Brightland’s bottles, and it looks super chic to boot.
A Summery Serving Platter
I normally serve my summer salads (caprese and otherwise) in a large bowl or plate, but these gorgeous colored glass platters will definitely earn you extra points for presentation. The cloudy white streaks through the glass also allow you to be a little more playful with your dressing application when serving.
A Moody Black Serving Platter
If you want your summer salad to speak for itself, a sleek matte black platter will do the trick. The dark hue of the platter will make any white slabs or shavings of cheese stand out and create stark contrast with the pink, white, or yellow tones of your peaches. Plus, this set comes with two platters, so you can serve a traditional caprese or other salad as well if you want to provide two options.
This Versatile Bamboo Colander
Ever since TikTok introduced me to the horrors of unwashed produce, I’ve been hyper vigilant about properly washing my fruit, vegetables, and herbs before they’re served. This 2-in-1 colander is great for soaking, rinsing, and more, plus you can reuse the excess water in a garden or, in the case of draining pasta, preserve the starchy pasta water goodness.
A Ball of Fresh Mozz
This is usually my go-to mozzarella if I’m unable to snag a fresh homemade ball from my local store. Two of these ought to fill out an extra-large caprese, even if you sneak a couple slices to snack on while you’re building your plate.
This Vegan Cheese Option
Miyoko’s mozzarella substitute is made with cashews, so it’s great for lactose intolerant, vegan, or otherwise dairy-averse folks.
Enjoy Endless Basil With a Live Plant
If I had to choose one fresh herb to have on hand at all times, it’d be basil. This herb is essential to any caprese, you can tie together a sprig to instantly elevate homemade (or even store bought) pasta sauces, toss a few leaves into a stir fry, or even make homemade pesto. The possibilities are endless when you have your own basil plants, so this 4-pack of basil starters is a great place to start. Plus, if you’re a less apt plant parent, you have greater odds of success with multiple plants.
If You Prefer a More Traditional Salad
If you’d rather use your in-season produce to make a more traditional greens-based salad, you’ll probably want some classy salad servers to go along with it. These hand-carved salad servers are made from durable and beautiful olivewood by Tunisian artisans.